The Dystopian Fiction Genre


What type of book creates an image of a dangerous, imperfect world where everything is likely to go wrong? The dystopian fiction genre is a painted picture of a future where the world is full of issues we fear will happen and is used as a warning.


Your task is to define dystopia and the elements of a dystopia society. Once you have completed the definition and elements, you are to create your own dystopia in order to evaluate your knowledge of the genre.


Oppression and corruption are what fills a dystopian society. It is often seen as an ideal society at first, but then the lack of freedom can be seen and how it is such a miserable place. According to Lauren Martin M.ED., the six elements of every dystopia are “uniformity/sameness, no free will/independent thought, corrupt government/propaganda, segregation/unequal power, perfect exterior hides evil secret, and unexpected hero.”

1.       Uniformity

     a.       Every citizen is forced to live highly similar lives (e.g. “clothes, lifestyles, beliefs, professions, etc.”)

2.       No Free Will

     a.       Free will is not an option. Surveillance is constant and consequences are enforced for independent thought and action.

3.       Corrupt Government

     a.       A leader demands to be obeyed and uses propaganda to brainwash citizens.

4.       Segregation

     a.       Groups are often separated according to place in society.

5.       Perfect Exterior Hides Evil Secret

     a.       Although there is an evil truth that has created this corrupt world, a perfect façade gives the image that society is ideal.

6.       Unexpected Hero

     a.       “An unlikely leader of a revolution, lacking obvious strength, experience, power, or even values.

     b.       They usually struggle with their own conscience and confidence in themselves before they are able to overthrow or escape their dystopian society.”


Source and further information:


Now, you are going to make your own dystopia by putting a story together by using a Storyboard or Mind Map. You need to include all six elements of a dystopia, and for each element, you need to include a thoroughly explain how your story connects to each element. Extra credit is given if an appropriate illustration for each element.

Examples can be found


  Below Exceptional Exceptional Highly Exceptional
All elements and descriptions are present.


None of the elements or descriptions are present.


Half of the elements and descriptions are present.


All elements and descriptions are present.

Elements are listed correctly and story matches each element as it is defined.


None of the elements are correct and the story does not match each element as it is defined.


Half of the elements are correct and the story does matches half of the elements as it is defined.


All of the elements are correct and the story does match each element as it is defined.

The story used to make the student's own dystopia is original.


The story is completely based off a published creation -- not original.


The story is partly based off a published creation and partly original.


The story is completely original and made by that student.

Rubric for Storybook or Mind Map. Points can be given in between the numbers listed above due to results that land between each statement. Up to 2 extra credit points are available for each illustration (up to 12 points available). 


The Dystopian genre is a warning based on future issues that has created a corrupted and oppressed society. We have learned the six elements that make up a story with a dystopian society. We also have learned that dystopias appear to be a perfect world at first; if a world that appeared to be perfect was achievable, would it be worth it if there was no free will? Would that even be possible?


Elements information and activity:

Students can also find examples for their Storyboard or Mind Mapping at this web link.

Teacher Page

This WebQuest was made to inform students what a dystopia is and what elements are used to make a society that is dystopian. It gives the students a chance to learn and be creative. It also gives them a chance to further think about the topic.